It’s Time to Redesign Death

A powerful TED talk on patient-centered compassion

Death is  a complicated topic. Explaining how to make death “good” requires an ability to think both comprehensively and with subtlety. B.J. Miller, in this TED talk released in March and now making the rounds of social media, does just that .

Miller was a sophomore in college when, horsing around with friends, he climbed onto a parked commuter rail car and was electrocuted. He lost part of one arm and the bottom of both legs as a result. That, he says, was the beginning of his “formal relationship with death.”

Now a physician working at the Zen Hospice guest house in San Francisco, Calif., he focuses on providing palliative care and on fundamentally changing the American health care system. Right now, medical care centers on the disease. Miller argues that it should center on people — what patients want to do and what makes them feel good — taking into account caregivers as helpers and healers.

Miller says “life and health and health care can become about making life more wonderful, rather than just less horrible.”

The video is 20 minutes long and lays out rich ideas. Watch it here.

Sue Campbell
By Sue Campbell
Sue Campbell was an Editorial and Content Director for Next Avenue. Follow her on Twitter @SuePCampbell.@SuePCampbell

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